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, democratic future for syria. these are in line with what we and our international partners would result from the formation of the commission last month. as we look at ongoing efforts to support the syrian people, let me be clear 24e678 united states stands with the syrian people in insist that can any transition process result in a peaceful, unified, democratic syria in which all citizens are protected and a future of this kind cannot inlewd al-assad. >> [inaudible] >> that's correct. we provide significant assistance to the syrian people, we proside significant, not lethal, assistance to the opposition. but our position on providing lethal aid has not changed. >> to foe low up -- >> i've got folks in the back. >> defense secretary suggested the syrian government has preparations of chemical weapons and the administration is not as concerned about this as they were last week, is that accurate? and what has changed? >> i'm not going to get into assessments beyond what secretary of defense pa net -- panetta said. i would simply reiterate our clear warning to the assaad regime about the potenti
the opportunity to divert and talk about afghanistan or by iran or syria. they say the agenda has to remain narrow as a means of focusing issue on our principal concern which is proliferation. the second school of thought suggests if the agenda is broader, perhaps you can have agreements on other issues that would mitigate the agreements on the nuclear issue. that particular concept has never been resolved. when an issue remains unresolved, the status quo tends to prevail. given the fact that the issue of bilateral conversation is introduced as a last-ditch effort, it is likely to remain more focused. should be considered as a last- ditch effort? i don't think so. we talk about years of decision. i think we have more time on this issue. we always think of the issue as not having enough time and being urgent but somehow there is always more time. in 2008, this issue was important and it had an urgency but it has time flexibility. we have had bilateral discussions before also in 2009. if there is a bilateral discussion [inaudible] >> marina, ray said a moment ago we need to have a sense of modesty a
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